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A new report from the Center for Climate and Security (CCS), Climate Security in Mainland Southeast Asia: A Scenarios Based Assessment, explores the socio-political, technological, demographic, diplomatic, military, and economic drivers that may shape the converging threats of climate change and national security in Mainland Southeast Asia. This paper posits four “climate security scenarios” built on expert input and identification of two key drivers of insecurity: state governance capacity and social and economic inequality.
Burma, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam are extremely vulnerable to climate change impacts owing to their geographic situation and natural characteristics, as well as their relatively heterogeneous levels of internal development and governing capacities. Regional populations are already experiencing the first order physical consequences of a changing climate, including an increased frequency of extreme weather events, higher mean temperatures, decreased weather predictability, and rising sea levels.
Beyond these immediately observable consequences, an array of cascading second order effects is likely to emerge over the coming years, as the region’s inhabitants are forced to cope with unstable agricultural conditions, declining freshwater availability, and increasing energy costs. The future of Mainland Southeast Asia’s development, as well as its overall stability and security, will be determined in large part by the vulnerabilities and resilience of its constituent states, as well as the willingness of governments in the region to work together and with global partners to mitigate climate risks before consequences are imminent and unavoidable.(more…)
A quick read of daily headlines makes it increasingly clear that current governance structures are not fully prepared for the security risks of a changing climate. In response to these mounting risks, the Center for Climate and Security, an institute of the Council on Strategic Risks, is releasing a report calling for a framework for using our unprecedented foresight capabilities to anticipate and prevent the unprecedented security risks of climate change. Titled The Responsibility to Prepare and Prevent (R2P2): A Climate Security Governance Framework for the 21st Century, authors Caitlin Werrell and Francesco Femia identify three critical gaps in the international governance of climate security risks that have stalled preparedness and prevention. The report also offers three concrete proposals for filling those gaps to make sure the world avoids the worst of these risks on the horizon. Click here for the full report, and see below for the Executive Summary.
Report summary: The world in the 21st century is characterized by both unprecedented risk and unprecedented foresight. Climate change, population shifts and cyber-threats are rapidly increasing the scale and complexity of risks to international security, while technological developments are increasing our capacity to foresee those risks. This world of high consequence risks, which can be better modeled and anticipated than in the past, underscores a clear responsibility for the international community: A “Responsibility to Prepare.” This responsibility, which builds on hard-won lessons of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) framework for preventing and responding to mass atrocities, requires a reform of existing governance institutions to ensure that critical, nontraditional risks to international security, such as climate change, are anticipated, analyzed and addressed systematically, robustly and rapidly by intergovernmental security institutions and the security establishments of nations that participate in that system. For more, see the Responsibility to Prepare page, including the full report.